This page will become the project page for the next phase of Library renovation: the Fusion Center. While “the Fusion Center” is the working name for the space, you may also see it referred to as the “Learning Commons” or “upper commons”).
The Lower Commons / After Hours project focused on creating a high quality social learning and study space for Drake students. The next phase of the project focuses on more structured learning spaces (classroom, presentation practice, media creation, group studies) and creating a service rich environment by providing access to a variety of academic support services (the Library, Writer’s Workshop and more.)
What is a Learning Commons?
A learning commons is an evolving model for delivery of academic and instructional support services to a specific population of students and faculty. Originating in higher education, the commons concept has proven so successful that it is spreading to business, secondary schools, and even into primary schools.
In it’s earliest iterations the commons focused on integrating a variety of student services within in a common environment, generally the university library. As time has gone on, the commons has grown beyond simple collaborative service delivery to focus on creating and sustaining high-quality, functional and dynamic learning environments. While students remain the focus of most learning commons instances, a few — such as the Weigle Information Commons at the University of Pennsylvania — also focus on providing instructional support services to faculty, particularly as they relate to integrating new technologies into instruction.
Traveling under a variety of names — learning commons, knowledge commons, academic commons — the learning commons is a primarily social and collaborative space, technology-rich and service-focused.
Although the commons is often library-centered, it is not necessarily “library-centric.” Libraries are a significant component of nearly all learning commons, given their key role in the provision and use of knowledge resources and established service emphasis.
From the library’s standpoint, the commons allows the library to perform traditional functions related to research, reference, knowledge management and information literacy within a larger, collaborative service environment. This larger environment facilitates academic success, the utilization of knowledge in new media formats and instructional effectiveness. Other academic service units find space within the library — popular, central, and desirable — to significantly impact their outreach to students and faculty.
D. Russell Bailey. “From Information Commons to Learning Commons” ACRL National Conference. Minneapolis, MN. Apr. 2005.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/d_r_bailey/28
Beagle, Donald. “From Learning Commons to Learning Outcomes: Assessing Collaborative Services and Spaces.” (Research Bulletin). Boulder, CO: EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research, September 27,2011, available from http://www.educause.edu/ecar
Frequently Mentioned Models for a Learning Commons
We believe that each of the models listed below offer approaches and insights of value in developing a commons that is uniquely suited to Drake University. Comments about a particular commons are based on the institution’s web site, articles in the professional literature and various other sources and should not be taken as authoritative.
Scope of the Project
Phases of Development
Library Initiative Group
This group is the “steering committee” for the process. It will establish the framework and direct the course of the planning process. Membership: Rod Henshaw, Library Dean; Claudia Frazer, Digital Initiatives Coordinator and Associate Professor of Librarianship; Dr. Susan Fink, Coordinator – Administrative Services and University Lecturer; and, Marc Davis, Special Projects Coordinator.
* From Educause/ELI: Things You Should Know About The Modern Learning Commons [PDF]